Submitted by the Office of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino
In a special session Friday, the Niagara Falls City Council approved the use of American Rescue Plan funding for several projects within the city.
The council approved the purchase of 10 new vehicles for the Niagara Falls Police Department, worth a total of $340,000. The council’s approval of this funding now paves the way for the purchase of the vehicles, with the hope they will be in service within the next few weeks.
“It is imperative that officers in the Niagara Falls Police Department have the tools they need to properly do their jobs,” Police Superintendent John Faso said. “That includes safe and operational vehicles. As we all know, as time passes, vehicles succumb to the wear-and-tear of everyday use. Police cars are no exception. Now, officers can feel comfortable that the cars they’re working in are safe and working properly. I thank Mayor Restaino for pushing for this funding, and the council for its approval.”
The council also approved funding for significant improvements at fire stations throughout Niagara Falls: $44,000 is now earmarked for new windows, as well as heating and air-conditioning units at the facilities.
“Over the years, the condition of our fire stations has taken a back seat to other more pressing needs – such as new, safer equipment,” Niagara Falls Fire Chief Joe Pedulla said. “Mayor Restaino has made the facilities where our firefighters work a priority. For too long, because of a lack of funding, our firefighters have been forced to sleep, eat and essentially live in conditions that are substandard. I thank the mayor for showing his support and respect for the men and women of the fire department.”
Mayor Robert Restaino commended the council’s approval of the use of ARP funding. He said, “Police officers and firefighters in Niagara Falls are true examples of selfless community servants. They regularly put their lives on the line in order to keep our families and neighbors safe. In return, it is our job, as government leaders, to ensure they are able to do their jobs as safely and efficiently as possible. I applaud the City Council for approving this funding, and I thank Congressman Brian Higgins for his efforts in securing this federal assistance.”
Higgins said, “This is a multimillion-dollar federal investment supporting small businesses and public safety in the City of Niagara Falls. American Rescue Plan funding is directed to help communities come back stronger following the pandemic. This plan, put forth by Mayor Restaino and approved by the council, makes lasting investments in police and fire equipment while providing opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses to grow and thrive.”
In addition to the funding for the Niagara Falls police and fire departments, the council also allocated $3 million in ARP funds to the NFC Development Corp. for its Minority and Women Business Enterprise grant program.
An MWBE – as defined under New York state law – is a business with at least 51% owned and controlled by women and/or minorities. With the ARP funding, the NFC Development Corp. will offer up to $50,000 to existing NYS-certified MWBE businesses located within the City of Niagara Falls. It will also offer up to $25,000 for non-NYS-certified MWBE start-ups in the city.
For information on how to apply for MWBE funding, go to the City of Niagara Falls’ website: https://niagarafallsusa.org/.